Message not identified: On Thursday evening, the president of the parliamentary commission investigating the attack on the Capitol expected all those responsible for the attack, including the White House, to answer for their actions in court.
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Although Benny Thompson did not name Donald Trump, his short sentence increased the pressure on United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, who must decide whether to impeach the former Republican president.
The commission has demonstrated during eight campaign hearings that Donald Trump pressured election officials after the 2020 presidential election, after which Congress asked his vice president to block the certification of his rival Joe Biden’s victory. , January 6, 2021.
Claiming to be the victim of a “stolen election,” he summoned his supporters to Washington that day and called on them to fight “like demons.” Settling into the White House, he followed their torture for three hours without intervening.
The members of the commission felt that he had, At least“Has failed in his duty as Commander-in-Chief”.
However, notes Tim Bakken, a law professor at West Point Military Academy, on the site conversation “Failure to operate” is a crime under military law and in some states, but not under federal law.
According to several lawyers, Donald Trump could instead be criminally prosecuted on a much broader count of “obstruction of official process” or “government fraud,” which includes disrupting the functioning of institutions.
Donald Trump, who still enjoys strong popular support, appears ready to announce his candidacy for the 2024 presidency very soon. Some are warning against prosecutions, which some see as politically inevitable.
“The indictment of a former and future opponent of the president would be a disaster from which the country would struggle to recover,” wrote Jack Goldsmith, a former senior Justice Department official. tea The New York Times. “It will only fuel the animosity that is already simmering between our two parties.”
But other voices feel that sanctioning Donald Trump is necessary to protect American democracy. “Not indicting him could encourage other violent uprisings,” said Lawrence Tribe, a Harvard law professor.
To get a conviction, prosecutors would have to prove that Donald Trump had “criminal intent,” meaning he knew how to commit an illegal act, stressed William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University.
However, “his lawyers will definitely portray him as a disillusioned patriot who thought the election was stolen from him and that he had to save the country,” he explained to AFP.
During the trial, several members of his entourage claimed to have explained to him that he had lost the election. He knew some of the protesters were armed and dangerous, added Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide.
But for Donald Trump, these statements have no legal value: if the commission “had real evidence, it would have conducted real investigations respecting the rights of the defense”, he lamented the cutting, presentation and obstruction of evidence. test
Unknown Merrick Garland
US Attorney General Merrick Garland, known for being methodical and cautious, has not ruled anything out. “Everyone who is criminally responsible for the attempts to nullify the elections will have to answer for their actions,” he said recently.
But the proceedings must be conducted in a “professional and honest manner”, hastening to include this 69-year-old former judge, chilling the hopes of those hoping for a quick strike by the sword of justice.
A recent memo to his teams urged them to avoid any political prosecution ahead of midterm elections in November.
For the future, he may be tempted to appoint a “special prosecutor” that would release him from the file and guarantee his independence, William Banks opined. “But he keeps his cards very close to him and you never know what he wants to do”.